My son recently has been requesting we stay in the room with him while he falls asleep. Since we just moved him to a big bed, we expected a period of transition, and find this a more agreeable solution than having him sneak out every few minutes to come find us.
My husband usually puts him to sleep, so I can start writing around 7. On the nights it falls to me, I tell myself I can write once he's asleep, but it always seems like it takes him extra long to do so when I'm in the room. I was at first frustrated that this delayed the start of my precious writing time, often by as much as an hour. While I would sometimes read (an important part of writing), usually I'd just scroll through social media, feeling frustrated and grumpy.
Then, I suddenly realized, there is no reason I can't write in his room. I turn the luminosity down a bit, sit on the opposite side of the room, and turn the screen away from him. I get to write, and he gets a nightlight plus momma. Parenting/writing win for everyone!
Other times, I need to work in a bit more parenting to the writing side of things. I listen to podcasts in the car on the way to/from work and daycare, and my son doesn't seem to mind listening to the people talk. It's a good 3-4 hours of additional "writing time" per week for me. Already a win, right?
However, I realized this is kind of a lost moment for my son to be getting extra French in his day. We speak it at home all the time, but 90% of his media is English. There's no French radio or Netflix, and he sadly doesn't seem to like the book CDs that his grandmother sent from France.
I decided to put on a French podcast the other day. At first he protested, as he often does when he's not hearing the language he expects (like when I speak to him in French in front of the teachers at daycare, for instance). After a few days of just 5 minutes, he got used to it and I increased the time. I'm up to about half the commute in French, the other half my favorite podcasts, which seems like a good balance.
I found a few on books and cinema, and have just discovered one for self-publishing. So I am still listening to useful information, and he gets more French. Another parenting/writing win!
I think most parenting hacks are mainly about being creative and working with what you have. Sometimes, with the tiredness and frustration, it can be hard to feel like there's a way to do anything at all.
So these were just a few examples of ways to take something you're already doing - whether on the parenting side or the writing side - and change one thing to make it more balanced.
Want more hacks and tips? Check out my Writer Mom Life podcast for interviews with real writer moms about how they balance parenting and writing!